Stakeholders in the internet administration ecosystem have advocated for an improved hosting of local internet content in the country as a way of developing the sector.

They argued that apart from saving foreign exchange for the country, domestication of content will help the springing up of hosting companies especially now that the country can boost of commercial Tier 111 Data centres.

Mohammed Rudman, managing director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), said that keeping local traffic local and avoiding international links, would help local operators and users reap substantial cost savings, provide substantial local bandwidth and significantly improve local internet performance.

Rudman who spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek expressed worries that only 20 percent of internet traffic from Nigeria are directed at local content while 80 percent goes out of the country.

He also urged local content providers who host their servers outside of the country to consider relocating them in other to boost local traffic and save money for the country.

“Media and entertainment contents are generated locally but hosted abroad. The day we experience cut to undersea cable infrastructure that links Nigeria to the outside world, we won’t have access to those content which are generated here and are meant for Nigerians,” he added.

Corroborating Rudman, Mark Tinka, head of engineering at Seacom, a submarine cable operator with a network of submarine and terrestrial high-speed fibre-optic cable that serves the east and west coasts of Africa, said that 90 percent of Africa’s Internet traffic comes out of Europe.

“Much of that content was traditionally hosted in North America, but the content owners have, over the years, expanded their presence into Europe and the Asia-Pacific to improve the experience of their users and customers”.

“Most African Internet users tend to get much more of their content from Europe than from the US. Seacom’s dream is to one day be able to keep the majority of traffic on the continent, thereby reducing the amount of money Africa spends on transporting traffic to Europe. That will also help to drive more Internet penetration in Africa because of a reduction in cost of business,” Tinka noted.

Rudman, however decried the high cost of hosting servers at data centres located in the country which makes it difficult for content providers except for banks that have the financial muscle to afford the cost. He attributed the high cost of the service to power issues in the country.

“More so, availability is important in driving local traffic. Taking content to the edge of the network makes cost cheaper, making the service closer to the end user. Uptime also plays a crucial role, this is why most data centre providers seek international certification,” he noted.

Mr. Ayotunde Coker, managing director of Rack Centre, said that Nigeria has one of the largest internet user bases in the world and driving local content hosting will compliment Nigerians desire to embrace the internet the more.

“Nigerians are keen users of the internet, be it via tablet, PC’s or mobile devices. This new initiative enhances IXPN’s vision for online development in the country. Rack Centre is a quality, carrier neutral facility that intends to keep raising the bar for data centre providers in Nigeria with a string of firsts; first to be Tier III design certified, first carrier neutral Tier III site and now the first Tier III data centre to sponsor and establish an Internet Exchange Point,” Coker said.

Published in The Guardian